The first batch of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is about 3,924,000 doses, has arrived in Nigeria the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
A small ceremony chaired by Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 is currently being held at the VIP Protocol section of the airport to receive the vaccine, as earlier stated by Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
Dr Shuaib had said at the end of the ceremony that a few vials of the vaccines would be handed over to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Meanwhile, NAFDAC is expected to analyze the vaccine over a period of two days, between Wednesday March 3rd and Thursday March 4th.
Further to the clearance by NAFDAC, the PTF, NPHCDA, the Federal Ministry of Health and strategic leaders will be at the treatment center of the National Hospital on Friday March 5th 2021, where the first vaccination site will be set up to commence the vaccination of the frontline health workers and support staff.
According to the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, on Monday March 8th 2021, more vaccination sites would have been set up at designated locations such as National Assembly clinic, State House clinic and Federal medical centre, Jabi where strategic leaders such as the SGF, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Attorney General of the Federation, Inspector General of Police, the Ministers and Ministers of States, Senators, House of Representatives, traditional leaders and religious leaders would be vaccinated.
Dr Shuaib stated:
After this launch and initial roll-out phase, Vaccine distribution to the States for the phase 1 vaccination process will begin. This phase is the vaccination of all frontline health workers, their supporting staff and strategic leaders.
Deployment of vaccines to the States would be based on the assessment of their level of preparedness. Some of the parameters that would be used for the assessment include adequate maintenance of their cold chain storage facilities, adequate preparation for logistic transportation to the ward/ health facility, adequate security in place during transportation and at vaccination sites, completion of training of health workers, efficient social mobilization activities in place, adherence to protocol for vaccine deployment.
Working with CACOVID, plans are on ground for a cargo plane provided by them to transport the vaccines to the States by air. States without a functional airport will have their vaccines transported by road using vans with fitted Cold Cabins, from the nearest airport. The vaccines will be stored at the State Cold Stores, from where they will be transported by road to LGA Cold Stores
Once activities have commenced in the States, there would be strict monitoring by PTF, FMOH, NPHCDA and independent bodies such as EFCC, DSS, ICPC, and Civil Society Organizations.